Swedish Almond Toast
In a book I just finished reading, the author made mention of foods
that brought back the past for her, and it made me start thinking about
dishes that were once key elements of my culinary repertoire, or that
were common in our family at one time, but which have vanished over the
years. Some of these recipes were wonderful, and I wonder sometimes why
they’ve slipped away. Of course, in many cases, it’s simply
because life changes. The way I entertain now is not the way I
entertained when I was starting out.
When I was first living on my own, entertaining was often as simple
as cookies and coffee. Of course, it could be elaborate for special
occasions, but it didn’t have to be. I already had a dozen or
more good cookbooks, but most of my recipes at that point were either
from home or from college.
One of my favorite recipes for entertaining had been obtained from a
Swedish suite-mate during my junior year in college. I had learned at
an early age that coffee was widely known as “Swedish
gasoline,” so my friend’s love of the beverage was not
surprising. But she introduced us to a Swedish custom related to coffee
drinking that quickly became an addiction for all of us: dunkies.
“Dunkies” was in fact the informal name for a fabulous,
rich, toasted, almond cake that was spread with butter and then dunked
in one’s coffee. This leaves crumbs and something of an oil slick
in your cup, but the combined flavors and textures are so good, you
So here, from college and my early days of entertaining, is Swedish
almond toast. These toasts are reminiscent of biscotti, but are far
more luxurious. Enjoy.
Swedish Almond Toast
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup chopped almonds
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. almond extract
about 4 cups flour
Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and mix
well. Combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Add flour mixture
a cup at a time, alternating with the half-and-half. Mix in flavoring
and almonds, stirring to make sure they are incorporated throughout the
The original recipe stated that you should divide this batter among
three wax paper-lined bread pans. I’ve always used greased and
floured square cake pans, with no noticeable difference in the outcome.
I suggest you accommodate this to whatever combination of bakeware you
Bake at 300°F for one hour or until lightly browned. Let cool and
remove from baking pans. Cut into half-inch-thick slices. If you used
bread pans, cut each slice into three lengths. If you used square cake
pans, cut each slice in half. (The idea is to have a shape and size
that is vaguely biscotti-esque.)
Place the slices on cookie sheets and return to the 300°F oven to
“toast.” (It is okay, however, to sneak a piece to enjoy
while you’re working. The intermediate stage is quite lovely and
cake-like.) Bake for one hour, or until brown on all sides, turning the
toasts regularly during the hour.
Cool and store in an airtight tin. If you are not going to consume
them relatively quickly, you might want to refrigerate them, to avoid
rancidity. They never lasted long enough for me to find out how long
they’d stay fresh, but if unrefrigerated, I wouldn’t go
beyond a week.
You may eat these on their own or with milk, but the traditional way
to enjoy them is buttered and dunked in coffee.
You can substitute milk for the half-and-half. Flour
amount is approximate, because the humidity level can affect your
dough. Most of the time, 4 cups will work, unless you’re at a
high altitude or in the tropics.
Back to Cheap Eats Introduction